"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Destruction Continues in Indiana

Yesterday I noted some of the areas where Indiana lawmakers are doing their best to damage public schools.

Here are two more...at the very end I have included an email I got from a teacher suggesting responses when we write letters to our lawmakers (addresses available here).

AN ATTACK ON PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS

In a clear preference for private schools, the state legislature gives preferential treatment -- using tax dollars -- to parents who send their children to private schools or who home school their children. Public School parents take note. These are the people we elected. Let them know that this is unacceptable!
Codifying an education injustice - from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Indiana House Republicans are making no pretense this session of their preference for private schools and home-schooling. On Monday, GOP lawmakers voted 62-36 to defeat an amendment that would have given parents of public school students a tax break available to private, parochial and home-schooling families.

Lawmakers two years ago approved a tax deduction for families who home-school or send their children to private or parochial school – with or without a voucher. It amounted to a sort of consolation prize for parents who already were sending their children to private schools and would not benefit from voucher entitlements.

In 2011, the Indiana Department of Revenue said the tax break cost the state about $2.6 million in just its first year. It apparently was not enough – the House has voted to triple the amount of the tax deduction for 2013.

Indiana is one of just eight states where public-school parents must pay for textbooks. For some families, the cost amounts to hundreds of dollars a year. But when Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute, offered an amendment to House Bill 1427 to allow parents of students enrolled in public schools to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for textbooks, House Republicans cried foul. The tax break is “a dangerous path to go down,” said Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton.

But it’s a path the GOP-controlled legislature chose to take two years ago. Now it is simply picking winners and losers along the path. Among northeast Indiana lawmakers, Rep. Martin Carbaugh of Fort Wayne was the only Republican to support extending a tax break to parents of public school students.

AN ATTACK ON SILENT TEACHERS

The following review of a proposed bill was posted by a teacher from Indiana. The complete, current version of the bill (as of Feb 13, 2013) is available at http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2013/IN/IN1339.1.html

Indiana teachers...are you going to just close the door to your classrooms and let the legislature destroy your profession, damage the public schools and hurt the children to whom you have devoted your careers?
Justin Oakley 2012

Today I read proposed House Bill 1339 and frankly if teachers in this state aren't furious, fired up, and fed up, I don't know what it is going to take to get your attention.

Hoosier Teachers:

HB 1339 takes away any due process for you. Simply put, you can be fired for anything regardless of your contract (this bill will super cede all contracts and renege on all 2011 promises that bargaining certain items would remain)

You will lose status quo status of any and all un-bargained contracts (er, Indiana history here: The reason teachers have association rights is because in 1970's Republican Governor made a deal - but implemented status quo law as to make striking in Indiana illegal -) and basically have ZERO bargaining power (which point blank is what these guys want and are making sure it happens NOW)

They have even added a provision to basically start the course of elimination of sick bank - that should get your attention - and again, if it doesn't, I'm not sure what will?

Here's some more:

Suspension with no pay (without due process) - and a forced submission of RISE (the four pieces regardless of contract) and all kinds of new reporting items to multiple boards.

And, they have also introduced parent trigger laws (which allows for parents to "take over" a school), virtual charters (with no oversight) and on and on and on and on......

Did I miss something here? Didn't Tony Bennett get defeated by a staggering number in Indiana? Didn't the State Supt. seat get 1.3 million votes? MORE THAN THE GOVERNOR ELECT?

I'm hearing that emails are not being answered. Phone calls are not being returned or ignored.

I'm hearing CRICKETS from the Indiana media!!!!!! (minus one very vocal reporter out of Fort Wayne)

I'm asking YOU right now, what is it going to take? How much more do you have to take before you completely snap?

I love teaching. I had the BEST teachers in the world. I wanted to spend my life giving back to MY community - - - - - now it is all be taken away and NO ONE is listening, fighting, or participating at the level we need to be.

How about this? How about 10,000 of you join my next Saturday in Mooresville, IN? I'm working on setting up a conference call for us to communicate off line.

It is TIME we say enough is enough. This is the time.

More to come.......

TAKE ACTION

Indiana parents and teachers...contact your legislators and let them know that you are against the attacks on public education in Indiana.

Indiana Senate Members
Indiana House Members
Indiana House and Indiana Senate Education Committees
From Julian Smith

Long but seemingly productive day at the statehouse. Here's a couple points that appeared to register with legislators today that you might share in your correspondence.

Parent trigger- not fair that only parents of students get to vote. Taxpayers (stakeholders) without children have a vested interest in their schools too. And it's not fair that a parent would get to vote for every child they have in the school. The way it is written 1 child, one vote and 10 kids, 10 votes.

Vouchers- Governor Daniels said in a speech at Harvard that public schools should have the first chance. It is not fair that private school parents get all the help and tax advantages while public school parents are still paying text book rental fees.

Accelerated reform- Many legislators are starting to question the wisdom of accelerating reforms that were already passed and implemented very quickly without giving them adequate time to take root. They are starting to recognize some of the unintended consequences we warned them about two years ago and are somewhat willing to acknowledge that macro modifications may result in a whole new set of unintended consequences.

Remediation-We currently spend about $3 mil on remediation and something like $41 mil on testing. What good is a test if you have no resources to cure the problem?
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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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